Private Wells

Forty percent of Wisconsin residents get their drinking water from private wells.

You Run and Operate Your Own Well

Unlike public water systems, protection and maintenance of a private well is largely the responsibility of homeowners. Private wells are usually owned by individuals and are connected to their home and property. Some private wells are owned by an entity, such as a business, mobile home park, or school.

It is important to test your well regularly and maintain its structure to make sure it is safe. For tips on owning a private well, visit the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) private well page.

Wisconsin Tracking partnered with the Center for Watershed Science at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to develop a Well Water Viewer. This tool maps decades of private well data at county, township, and section levels.

Test Your Well

The DNR provides recommendations on private drinking water well testing and a list of labs that test private well water for bacteria and other contaminants.

  • Test annually for bacteria and nitrate.
  • Test at least once for arsenic (and more often if it is found).

You may be asked to test for other contaminants based on certain situations, such as smelling chemicals in your water or if a previous test showed your well had a specific chemical.

Fix Your Well

DNR also has information on how to address well issues, and the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) has a list of approved treatment devices for many contaminants.


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Last Revised: October 1, 2019